• Welcome, Dave!

    We've hired Dave Clark as a Community Moderator, joining Tyler and Sally.

    Check out Dave's introductory article here.

    He'll be in the discussion there and discussions elsewhere, and we're very happy to have him aboard.

  • Meet your new Community Moderator

    I'm the newest of the Newsvine hires. Basically I'm the other half of Sally, joining as a part-time community moderator here. I come from outside of the Vine with about a dozen years of community building experience. Like everyone here I'm addicted to news, and probably like you I enjoy meeting new people. One of the things I love the most about online communities is that the only thing that matters are the words people say. It's as if the world of Locke/Demosthenes is now real.

    That's the first hint of what makes me, me. I love science fiction (OSC, Gibson and Stephenson being my favorites). I'm a Puget Sound native of an age where grunge is still my music of choice (I'm actually wearing flannel today). My approach to my hobbies is as a modern geek. When I brew beer it isn't casual. When I write about sports the metaphors include RPGs & speculative fiction and the stats are things I try my best to understand. I have a dog named Aslan. My wife and I live in the suburbs because we actually like the suburbs.

    My previous careers are almost like three different lives. I've worked in retail coffee and as a coffee taster. For four years I was an Arabic linguist in the US Army. For a few years I was a producer at a sports radio station and that's influenced my approach to my professional writing and community building in the sports field.

    I look forward to a warm welcome and learning about the millions here (I probably won't meet that goal, but you'll see me around as a participant in discussions). While I've used different words than this in the past I find this to be the key to making the interwebs and comments sections amazing - above all else, respect others.

  • Comments on Comments: An Update!

    It’s been over a year since the new Newsvine launched and we’ve received a fair bit of helpful feedback about what our community would like from the site. Thank you for that. We’ve been putting much of it into the software and kicking the tires. So let’s dive in.

    We’ve spent some time revising the way our core comment system works. The design was trimmed up and changed quite a bit, and we’d like to share the changes with you below. This has taken a not un-tiny amount of effort and we hope you’ll be as excited about using it as we were about making it.

    Here are some of the things that we’ve changed in hopes of making it easier on our members to read, digest, respond, and so on, in a satisfying manner.

    Discussions:

     

    • New Discussion thread “Summary Mode” gives a quick snapshot as to a Nation’s thoughts and its member’s reactions to the article.   
    • Discussion Header Bars are leaner and more useful as we’ve moved their meta information into a scrolling region underneath itself. This should be extremely helpful when on mobile devices.   
    • The old "+" and "-" expanding buttons were added on Discussions across the sites we use but their meaning was vague in this context (like joining and Nation actions in general) so they were removed. We also felt the collapse button was in most circumstances not needed. As a result the "Expand" text button is now used instead.   
    • The activity tracker/ conversation tracker was aging and needed updating. It had too many buttons. Now it has one button, just like the original, to do just that: head to the next new comment (see “Activity Menu” below). We will continue to improve on this tool.
    • Large Discussions, like those with hundreds of comments (and beyond), have received a few performance boosts. Initial page loading and Discussion thread expanding has noticeably improved, especially on older computers.
    • We’ve also altered the design on mobile devices to take advantage the format and improve the reading experience as well as "commenting on the go". Although there are improvements for mobile devices visible throughout, there’s still much to do. You may have noticed that we don’t try to find out what device you’re using, only the size of screen that it uses, so if you’re 'internetting' on your desk’s personal computer with a tiny window, you’ll also benefit from these additional changes. There's more to come but we're being careful not to alter the site for mobile at the expense of the desktop experience, both of these being very important to us.

    Mini Title Bar:

    • On any page with discussions, as soon as the Discussions pane scrolls into view, you'll get a Mini Title Bar reminding you what article you’re discussing, an Activity menu pointing you to the rest of your discussions, as well as a Next Thread button that bumps you to the next Discussion.
    • The bar becomes smaller and moves to the bottom on mobile, which is hopefully out of the way and yet still useful.

    Activity Menu:

    The Activity Menu that was formerly only located only the top of the site is now also in the Mini Title Bar, which follows you down the page, quickly sending you off in another direction if you so choose - or if you’re just in need of browsing your different discussions.

    If you’re on your handy mobile device, clicking the activity button will forward you on to the Activity page, a fuller representation of all of the activity in three areas, currently on “Your Column”, within “Your Discussions”, and within “Your Nations”.

    Also, if you’re active on other NBC properties, like TODAY.com, NBCNews, or MSNBC.com, you’ll notice those items will be marked as such.

    More changes are coming, some of them small, some medium sized, so watch for more to come. We’re updating the documents in the Knowledge Base to reflect these changes.

    We’re proud of the changes we’re making and hope you will be, too.

    Support & Feedback:

    We appreciate any feedback you’re willing to give, and the discussion below is a good place to do that. If you've found a bug, though, please head to this discussion on support.newsvine.com, where you can see if anyone else is encountering the same issue, upload your own  screenshots if needed, and receive updates on bug fixes from staff.

    Thank you very much. Your staff is working hard on these feature upgrades and I'm very honored to be working with them!

    Let's give them a hand!

  • How to Report Abuse on Newsvine

    Now that we are moderating Nations, I just want to remind everyone how to report violations.

    The easiest way is through our help site: support.newsvine.com

    Not familiar? Check out this blog post, which goes into more detail.

    Click on 'Start a Discussion', write your message and choose 'report a malicious user' from the drop down menu. Then, fire away!

    We will be checking these reports daily.

  • Nation Moderaton Begins November 11th!

    As Tyler promised in his last blog post, we are going to be spending a lot more time on the green side since the launch of msnbc.com is behind us. We are extremely excited at the opportunity to get back in touch with our Newsvine community.

    And after much deliberation, we have decided to start moderating Nations. That’s right, folks. We are going to start suspending and banning users who are violating the Code of Honor in Nations. We will also be taking action against Nation Admins who are allowing violations to occur in their Nations.

    We didn’t come to this decision lightly, but since launching Newsvine 3.0 in February; we have received numerous complaints from you, Newsviners, about Code of Honor violations in Nations. Many of you feel ganged up on, harassed, personally attacked and otherwise abused. And as you all know, that is not the environment we are trying to promote on the Vine.

    Our hope is that with a little guidance from us, we can start working towards making Newsvine and Nations an enriching place to be: where we are getting smarter, having intelligent discussions and leaving the personal attacks and other violations out.

    Since this is a new policy, it doesn’t go into effect until Monday, November 11. I know it’s been a while so here is a link to the Code of Honor so you can all brush up on the rules!

  • The new msnbc.com launches today, and it's powered by...Newsvine!

    Today, October 15th, the new MSNBC.com launches. You may have read about it. It's got a lot of folks talking. Here's Alex Weprin at TVNewser:

    User interaction will be a big part of the site, with comments displayed to the right of stories instead of underneath them. The hope is to spur debate among commenters… civil debate. [Executive Editor Richard] Wolffe said that the commenting technology automatically converts all upper-case comments to lower case, and reminds the commenter to calm down.

    If you've ever tried to leave an ALLCAPS comment on Newsvine, you might recognize that feature. There's a good reason for that; the new MSNBC.com's commenting system is based on Newsvine. So is the registration; if you have a Newsvine account, you don't have to register to use MSNBC.com.

    Here's msnbc.com's Executive Editor Richard Wolffe on how Newsvine powers the new site:

    We are really excited to be launching the new MSNBC.com with the compelling, engaging community platform that is Newsvine. The vine has been the home for our blogs - including the phenomenal MaddowBlog - for many years and has given us a great start to what will be a thriving home for the new msnbc family.

    Newsvine Nations will serve as the foundation for an infant community in the form of MSNBC.com groups. If you're a Nation admin, you will probably experience an uptick in applications and membership for your Nations, and we encourage you (and your Nations) to participate.  MSNBC.com groups can also be accessed from Newsvine. Suspension or banning from one is suspension or banning from the other. If you're familiar with Newsvine's Code of Honor, MSNBC.com's Community Rules are very similar. Address issues and arguments.

    Newsvine's development team and staff have done a lot to prepare for this launch and still have plenty of work to do, but we won't be solely supporting MSNBC.com. We're really excited to launch this cool new product attached to a TV channel, but equally excited about the prospect of returning with renewed purpose to Newsvine. We'd love for you to check the new site out - there's a lot of opportunity for community-building there - but personally, we're excited to see more green on our screens. You'll be seeing more of us.

  • New Video and Photo Posts

    Well folks, our launch date has come and gone and we hope you’ve all had a chance to get used to the new look and how it all works. One thing we are all very proud of around here is how amazing our video and photo posts look now. Have you guys had a chance to see them? 

    notsojingo

    A live photo post from notsojingo published on Newsvine 3.0

     

    The photo posts are so gorgeous now; they are easy to see, and easy to read. They are pretty easy to post too. If you need help doing so, you can find it here.

    Video posts got a face lift too. They look great!

    A video post from notsojingo posted on Newsvine 3.0

     

    For help with video posts check here.

    We’ve also created a filter bar, which is a nifty tool to help you well…filter for what you want to find. For example, if you wish to only see photo posts, or only video posts, you can do so using the bar. Here’s how it looks:

    What the filter bar looks like.

    You can also filter for seeds, articles and polls. Just click on the image you wish to filter by. This works for filtering for more than one type of post at a time, so it truly is customizable and you get see exactly what you want. All of these new features are pretty exciting, so make sure you try them out.

  • New Newsvine Has A Launch Date: February 7th!

    We're almost there! Newsvine is preparing to undergo its biggest change since its founding. We're really excited here at Newsvine Global Headquarters, and we are ready to help you through a big transition to a great upgrade.

    Here's what you need to know:

    Wednesday, February 6th is the last full day of Newsvine as we've come to know it. On Thursday, February 7th, Newsvine will look very different. 

    There's an extensive Knowledge Base here that we're continuing to update. If you've got a question that needs answering post-launch, you can begin discussions both publicly and privately here. Staff will be responding every day.

    Here are some things you can do to prepare:

    Take a look at your group memberships if you have them. All groups will become Nations, an entirely new construct on Newsvine that improves both discussions and publishing. We're moving beyond global discussion threads that sometimes feature thousands of comments to discussions in these Nations - community spaces that you create, grow, and make your own unique Newsvine experience.

    Check out the Knowledge Base. While it will make a lot more sense when you can use and experiment with the new site, we've answered a lot of questions asked by users, many without Beta access, so if you want to study a little bit, that's the best place to start.

    Get ready to try something new. This is easier written than done. It's also easier if you've been working with the new version of the site for many months, as the developers have. Newsvine's been good, and it's been one of the more enduring sites of its type on the internet. We're changing because we want it to be even better.

    Most folks reading this will be doing so because they know and like Newsvine. We're changing some very important fundamentals of the site, and we'd love for it to fulfill everyone's fantasy of what a news discussion site is. [Everyone has fantasies about that, right? It's not just us?] We recognize that Newsvine is nothing without Newsviners. So please, try the new Newsvine. Create Nations, publish content, mouse over everything. Tell us what you think in the discussion forum.

    February 7th is going to be a big day, but it's also the first day. Thank you for your continued support, participation, and feedback - we can't wait to continue growing with you. 

  • On Nations, Intimacy, and the Future

    I'm looking at New Newsvine's tour page today. That means it's getting close. I'm excited and anxious.

    There's an essay that web entrepreneur Anil Dash (NSFW language, right in the headline) wrote in 2011 that I keep coming back to as we prepare to launch. I gravitate to this paragraph:

    I realized that one of the reasons people don't understand how I've had such a wonderful response from all of you over the years is because they simply don't believe great conversations can happen on the web. Fortunately, I have seen so much proof to the contrary.

    So have I. I've had a wonderful time here, and I've met great folks through this site. I learn as much from discussions as from articles.

    Dash, later in the essay:

    When you engage with a community online in a constructive way, it can be one of the most meaningful experiences of your life. It doesn't have to be polite, or neat and tidy, or full of everyone agreeing with each other. It just has to not be hateful and destructive.

    From Mike D's initial email to Beta testers:

    Communities, like trees, don't grow to the sky.

    A cocktail party with five close friends is a great time. A luncheon with 100 acquaintances is a great time. Even an event with 500 colleagues can be a great time. But an event with 50,000 or more people is no longer a social gathering at all. It's just a big glob of people talking past each other.

    For this reason, we've come to the realization that for Newsvine to continue growing but at the same time regain the intimacy it was once lauded for, we need to stop treating Newsvine as one community of 40 million people and start creating thousands of communities of much fewer people.

    To help realize this goal, we're creating an entirely new construct on Newsvine that we call "Newsvine Nations". From now on, all of your activity on Newsvine, whether it be writing articles, seeding links, or participating in discussion threads will be done within the scope of what Nations you are a part of. In other words, the concept of a global discussion thread where everyone on Newsvine can talk past each other is being de-emphasized. When you discuss things on the site, you will now be discussing them with a much more familiar set of community members: the community members who choose to be in the same Nations you choose to be in.

    Bolding's mine. There's a lot changing in New Newsvine, but this is the biggest change. To grow, we must convene differently. I'm convinced that Nations presents that opportunity.

  • A Guide to A Guide: Newsvine Support

    Newsvine's current Help section is one of the oldest pages on Newsvine. When the new site is launched, it'll be replaced by  support.newsvine.com.

    Newsvine Support's a big improvement on our customer service solution. Actually, our 'customer service solution' before was mostly Newsviners teaching each other how Newsvine worked, and staff replying to emails individually. If you visit the site, you'll automatically create an account and be able to create private or public discussions with staff and fellow users.

    It's pretty. Take a look around.

    With Newsvine Support, we're going to maintain and update a thorough and helpful Knowledge Base - a FAQ, basically - and have lots of discussions about Newsvine.

    We also hope that a lot of the meta discussions there can turn into features.

    The site's currently called 'Newsvine Beta Support', and the available content reflects that: some of these articles won't make a lot of sense if you don't have access to the Beta. We're looking forward to removing the 'Beta' qualifier soon.

  • Welcome to the New Newsvine Blog

    Newsvine is changing. We're in Beta and nearing the biggest change in the history of the site. We've got a new support section. Now we've got a new blog.

    We're starting this blog nearly from scratch because in refreshing the site, we want to renew our commitment to making Newsvine the best news discussion site possible.

    One of the most important parts of fulfilling that commitment is improving communication to the people who make Newsvine's success possible:

    Newsviners. Our users.

    This version of Newsvine Blog doesn't have much content as of this writing - but from the developers to the moderators, we're going to fill it up. There will be features to explain, issues to discuss, and a whole new site to help with.

  • Newsvine Now Supports Google AdSense

    We've wired up a new-and-improved method of earning money from your Newsvine column. If you click the 'Newsvine.com' tab on your account page, you'll see a new link on the left-hand side: Google AdSense.

     

    AdSense will supply at least one advertisement to seed pages, article pages, and, in New Newsvine, Newsvine Home Pages (i.e., every page at yourdomainname.newsvine.com will feature AdSense ads if you've set it up.)

    AdSense is an impressive product and offers Viners more control over their ads in a few important ways. Most notably, users won't have to wait as long as they did for money to disburse from Newsvine Global HQ. Also, pay from Newsvine was prone to fluctuation; AdSense is known for remaining steady from month to month.

    If you don't have an AdSense account already, registering now is a good idea - the review process takes about a week. You should receive a confirmation email shortly after registering.

    For a step-by-step guide, we've created a support article here. There's only one requirement: your ad placement must be 300 x 250. We also strongly recommend you use Newsvine's values for your custom settings, also in the step-by-step guide.

    November is the last month Newsviners will receive the traditional 90% of ad revenue generated by their column.

    Newsviners must cash out - or donate - their earnings by Monday, December 31st.

    UPDATE - 11/19/12 - We've reached out to Google after reports from users that their AdSense applications have been denied.

    UPDATE - 12/19/12 - We've found a solution for users who had trouble both with rejected applications and registering at all. Read about it here.